Bazzi and Ella Mai don’t disappoint at SUB outdoor concert

Bazzi performs his song “Gone” at the Student Union Board Spring Outdoor Concert on April 25. Andrew Bazzi is an American singer, songwriter and record producer. Ella Mai and Bazzi performed at the SUB Outdoor Concert held in parking lot 29 of the Molecular Biology Building.

Tanner Owens and Trevor Babcock

The 2019 Student Union Board Spring Outdoor Concert did not disappoint Thursday night. R&B singer Ella Mai put on an emphatic 50-minute performance while Bazzi closed the night.

Mai, accompanied by two backup singers, donned a black and white tracksuit for her performance. Despite early sound issues with her microphone, Mai bounced back and delivered fans hit after hit. Her Grammy-winning song, “Boo’d Up,” garnered the loudest cheers of the night.

Andrew Bazzi, known professionally as Bazzi, also performed for 50 minutes. He performed a diverse range of songs including his 2017 hit “Mine” and a cover of MGMT’s “Electric Feel.” Bazzi also played a vicious, albeit short, guitar solo at the end of one of his songs.

Both artists made a stop in Ames fresh off performances at the world-renowned music festival, Coachella. Bazzi frequently addressed the audience as Coachella as well.

This year’s outdoor concert garnered a larger, and much more enthusiastic, crowd than last year’s. 2019’s headliner announcement on Facebook received over 200 more likes than last year’s announcement.

This year’s concert even brought an out-of-state audience. Brandon Montross and his fiance, Brianna Hersom, drove three hours from Northwest Missouri State just to see Ella Mai.

“Ella put on a really good performance, like really good,” Montross said. “She’s the only one we came up for.”

Hersom said Montross surprised her with last-minute tickets to the show. When she found out who was headlining, she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I was so excited,” Hersom said. “She is my favorite artist right now. She was so good.”

Mai performed hits from her platinum debut album, backed by a talented band. “Boo’d Up” summoned a sea of phones, capturing the most exciting smooth R&B jam of the night. Despite coming on stage 40 minutes late, Mai immediately got to work winning over the audience.

“I was so into the set I forgot to introduce myself,” said Mai, three songs into her already electric performance. Mai brought full band and back-up singers to create a fulfilling organic atmosphere resonating in the Iowa State audience.

“Coming to America I don’t always know if anyone will know the words, but you’re all singing along” Mai said.

Mai was surprised by the audience’s reception to not only her recently released Grammy nominated hits, but to material from her releases.

Mai’s performance was boosted by her supporting musicians. The drummer, keyboardist, bassist and her backup singers earned their own highlights in the show.

Bazzi’s performance came at 8:10 p.m. Bazzi opened the show with his latest release, “Paradise,” a dreamy, synth-dominated sing-along. Bazzi made sure to get the crowd hyped up from the very beginning.

“You may see me out tonight,” Bazzi said. “I may pull up somewhere, who knows?”

Bazzi surprised the audience midway through his set, saying “Let’s lighten the mood a bit,” before jumping into a well-performed cover of MGMT’s 2008 mega-hit, “Electric Feel.” The singer continued to command the stage, opting to have the crowd sing the chorus of “Beautiful” rather than him.

Bazzi interacted with the audience on a regular basis. It started with Bazzi asking people to tell him their majors. When faced with answers like pre-vet, psychology and marketing, Bazzi offered humorous quips about each one. One fan announced it was her birthday, prompting a collective singing of “Happy Birthday to You.”

Many fans then expressed that it was their birthday as well. Bazzi started to catch on to the trend quickly.

“I think some of you are lying right now,” Bazzi said. “There’s no way it’s all of yall’s birthday.”

Bazzi left the crowd with a parting gift, his 2017 hit single “Mine.” The song elicited an elated response from the audience who sung along from beginning to end.